Star Wars: The Last Jedi has scored a high approval rating (possibly as much as 89%) in a fan poll that was conducted by SurveyMonkey. Episode VIII is perhaps one of the most debated blockbusters in some time. Granted, the movie belongs to one of, if not the most iconic franchise in cinema, so it’s to be expected that most everyone who sees it will have a strong opinion to share. Nevertheless, writer/director Rian Johnson’s addition to the Star Wars movie series stirred the pot in unexpected ways and went in some rather unexpected directions – much to the consternation of some die-hard fans.
The supposed divide between critics and mass reception of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘ sequel first came to light thanks to Rotten Tomatoes. The film currently has a Fresh 92% critics Tomatometer score, while its audience counterpart is Rotten at 54%. It’s the opposite of the situation with last month’s Justice League (higher audience rating, lower critical score), illustrating just how difficult it can be to accurately determine what the general masses really think about a film. Of course, there are other platforms and polls that should be considered into the larger discussion about what the general public’s reaction to The Last Jedi.
SurveyMonkeys (via Mashable) conducted a poll of its own from December 15-19, in order to better determine how everyday people feel about The Last Jedi. 89% of the 4,441 people survey said that they either love or at least like (evenly divided) the new Star Wars movie. The figure remains the same whether respondents identify as life-long Star Wars fans or casual moviegoers who just happened to catch the blockbuster. Dissecting the data more, it shows that 34% of the general demographics loved it, rather than just like, while 63% of loyalists were in love with the movie. Cross-referencing with other sites that try to gauge people’s reaction to a film – see, for example, The Last Jedi‘s A grade CinemaScore – these numbers, more or less, check out.
Tarnishing the legitimacy of the Rotten Tomatoes result are two things: the flawed process of incorporating viewers rates (much more so than the critic’s side of things) and a group, who actually came out and claimed that they are flooding the hub with negative reviews of the film. That is not to say that there are no people who were genuinely disappointed by the latest Star Wars movie. One search on any social media platform and you’ll find a plethora of fans airing their grievance about Episode VIII. Even Mark Hamill has a thing or two to say about Luke’s journey in the sequel. It’s just that, perhaps the divide between critics and casual audience ratings wouldn’t be this wide if the aforementioned factors were to be taken out of the equation. Despite this, the review aggregating site maintains that the score that they have for The Last Jedi is from authentic user ratings, and by no means manipulated.
In spite of all the debates – some civil and insightful, others not so much – it seems like Lucasfilm and especially Johnson is taking the situation head-on, with a positive outlook. It seems that Johnson in particular was prepared for people to have wildly varying reactions to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, suggesting that he was quite comfortable with his vision for the film. All things considered, if good art is meant to draw a strong response (good or bad), then The Last Jedi has certainly gotten the job done.
KEY RELEASE DATES
Solo: A Star Wars Story release date: May 25, 2018
Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX release date: Dec 20, 2019